I realised, after I had posted the other day, that I had left out one element of the two different rides I had been on: riding up the mountain was all about effort, and riding along the water was all about no effort. Among my dharma talk drafts, I have one that centres on that subject, but who know if I will ever put it together.
My last Embarcadero sitting, this past Monday, was very sweet. For a few weeks we have been filling the cushions; I estimate that we have seven regulars, most of whom come most weeks now, and this time we had a couple of drop-ins, including one young man wearing a full set of grey Chan robes. Unfortunately, as with some other people who come after we have begun and leave before we end, we didn’t get to chat with him, but just bowed when he came and went. Once again, we shared the shade of the tree with others who were seeking some shelter and respite, one of them familiar to us, as are so many of the passers-by now.
We are more back to typical San Francisco summer weather this week, after so many wonderful clear days. As my departure for England gets closer, I notice a poignancy that this is the end of summer for me; when I return in October, things will feel different. Being California, it may well be hotter, as it was a couple of years ago, but I know that after the equinox, the days get shorter quite rapidly.
Still, before then I have a weekend at Wilbur, for which I anticipate the kind of heat I relish. I heard from someone I know that they will be up there as well, and I am looking forward to checking in with them, as well as sitting, running, relaxing, and, since I have some projects unfinished, working. Part of the unfinished work has been procrastination, part of it that I have just not wanted to keep filling my free time, and that some self-care was a good idea.
It’s not that I feel especially stressed now. The upturn in my income over the past few months, and a general feeling of contentedness about the dimensions of my life, have left me feeling as relaxed as I have been in perhaps four years – back to the time I spent three months at Tassajara just working, and enjoying the community, the landscape and the heat.
And at a time when a contemporary of mine has taken the reins of power in the UK and seems set on running it into the ground – or over the cliff, depending on how dramatic you like your imagery – driven by a grotesque sense of entitlement and ambition, I feel glad that I can enjoy a life of different values – though I am somewhat dreading the mood I will encounter in my native country.
This was taken a few days ago, from the back of where I live, but the light when I was writing this on Thursday evening was equally vivid.